Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sorry for the Radio Silence

I've been MIA for waaay too long - so sorry! I was holed up in a cabin in Nebraska with my family for an unexpected 10 days...back now and can't wait to see what's been going on in the fashion/beauty world while I was without an Internet connection.

Stay tuned!

Friday, December 18, 2009

While perusing the latest at B and Lu, I came across this Hand-knit Head Wrap:

It's a quirky take on the 1990's cold weather accessory - the ear bra (at least that's what we called it). Typically made of fleece and meant to match your ski jacket, gloves and scarf:

Yeah. I totally had one of those. The chunky knit, embellished version is much more my style now. And it makes me smile. I like that.

Photo credit: BandLu.com, Target.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beauty Moment - Newbies

Two new additions to my makeup bag are in heavy rotation right now: the Sonia Kashuk 5-piece brush set and L'Oreal Telescopic Explosion mascara.

I've been obsessively watching makeup application videos on YouTube and have begun to reconsider my everyday makeup brushes. I've had the same Bobbi Brown set for 11 years and they've served me well, but there's not a lot of selection within my collection. Many of the YouTubers have brushes of all shapes and sizes, and they really do make a big difference! I always, secretly, thought the whole brush thing was a racket. Get the makeup on, blend and be done. But now...I'm reconsidering. Suddenly, an angled crease brush and mini domed blender seem essential. Sonia Kashuk's 5-piece brush collection is a great little starter set. For less than $10, I've been able to try out a few different shapes of brushes. They're not the best quality - the bristles are a little stiff. But they do the job. And they come in the cutest little white case - perfect for traveling.

It seems as though not a week goes by that L'Oreal doesn't release a new mascara. One of the best to come out recently, according to my eyelashes, is Telescopic Explosion*. I, for one, am all about an explosion of lashes. I like this version because the formula maintains the efforts of my lash curler, is buildable, doesn't flake, and the spikey, bulbous wand is incredibly maneuverable. When swiped horizontally across the lashes, it grabs every little one.



You can pick up the brushes and the mascara at Target, each for under $10.

Photo credit: Target.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Edition by Erin Fetherston

Erin Featherston is one of so many designers who live double lives. By day, glamourous fashion guru to celebrities like Claire Danes and Zooey Deschanel. By night, shilling a mainstream clothing line on QVC or HSN. While these designers' main lines usually stop at size 10 or 12, their home shopping lines typically go up to size 24. And the prices? Totally affordable. Erin's known for creating clothes that are girly with a swirl of quirk. Here are a few of my favorite pieces:

This super cute sleeveless blouse features a keyhole back, ruffled hem and pleating across the bodice. The detachable floral belt is pretty snappy, too. The top would look great paired with jeans and red heels for a night out, or as the underpinning for a classic suit.



Few silhouettes compliment a Bombshell's curves like a great wrap dress. Tone down the animal print by layering a cardigan - cropped, thigh-length, either will look great- over the dress.



This floaty top (available in black or red) is both tailored and ethereal. The gauzy fabric gains a little structure thanks to ruching under the bustline.

Photo credit: QVC.com

Monday, December 14, 2009

Amused

I love sparkle and shine as much as the next girl (ok, maybe a little more than the next girl). But even I have my limits. And they begin with these amusing pieces:



Misook Sequin Jacket


Soulmates Beaded Two-piece set


I've been staring at this stripe sequin tank by Design History for about 12 minutes, trying to figure out if I like it or not. I mean, the band across the waist is supposed to be flattering...defining the curves and all that. But I've decided that it just kind of hurts my eyes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spotted: Carmindy Gift Sets


I wanted to post something about a series of Carmindy gift sets I saw at Ulta a few weeks ago, but couldn't find any pictures to accompany.

Finally! Carmindy herself has posted pics of her makeup sets - there are five to choose from. Three "5 Minute Face Kits" (for light, medium and deep skin tones), a Super Balm Kit and a Smokey Eye kit. I've tried a few items from the Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy (seriously with the name? Hence, the reason I call the makeup line "Carmindy" for short. Jeez) and have been happy with the quality and price point.

These gift sets would make a great gift - for you, for me, for the makeup lover or makeup novice in our lives. Too bad my neice is only three... You can pick them up at Ulta or CVS for about $13.

Photo credit: DailyMakeover.com

Spotlight On: Storm Sister Spatique


A few weeks ago, I made reference to a really great neighborhood spatique in St. Paul. It's called Storm Sister and is helmed by the fabulous Becky Sturm. She knows everything there is to know about the products on her shelves, which makes shopping at her place fun and informative. I walked out of Storm Sister with a huge stash of beauty products that she helped me choose, and a head-full of information about all natural beauty products. Becky doesn't carry products that are made with unnatural ingredients, and she taught me a lot about exactly why parabens are so evil (I'd obviously heard they were...but didn't quite understand why.)

Becky loves to talk shop about all things beauty, and one of the coolest ways she interactes with her customers is through a program called Beauty Clunkers. Go through your drawers and cabinets or wherever you squirrel away bottles and palettes of products that you bought but never quite got the hang of. Give Becky a call, set up an appointment, bring your stash in and she'll teach you how to properly use or re-work your products. She'll tell what's a lost cause, what's a keeper and can recommend alternatives that you'll actually use. She'll even toss in a gift certificate for 50% off an item and a few samples. Win-win.

Doesn't that sound like a fun thing to do with your girlfriends? A little Beauty Clunkers party. For you Bombshells located in and around the Twin Cities, head to Storm Sister for a well-edited selection of makeup, hair, nail and bath products. Totally worth it.

For everyone else, take a peek at Storm Sister's online shop. I recommend:
Blissful Bath Hand Polish
John Masters Organics Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Milk*
Softees Microfiber Towel (this towel has cut the dryer time of my hair in half. Seriously.)


photo credit: StormSister.biz

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to Style Leggings

Bombshell reader Bess recently took the plunge into the world of leggings.

They've become easier to find in plus sizes - Lane Bryant carries a line, and Torrid does as well, just to name two. Leggings are a key component to two of the biggest trends to sweep the pages of fashion magazines over the past few years: 80's redux and hipster cool.

If you're going for 80's flare, look to rock icon Pat Benatar for inspiration.

Please note that I said inspiration, not literal interpretation. Check out the wide neckline on Pat's tee - this is key to the 80's look. If you dressed yourself back in the 80's, you'll remember just how wide those necklines could be - very Flashdance/Kelly Kapowski in Saved by the Bell. Along with a wide neckline, look for quintessential 80's details like zippers and shredding. (But maybe forgo the fringe...)

Another great 80's detail that Pat's rocking is that thick, studded black belt. It looks tough and defines her waist. And although we can't see them, I'll bet she's wearing some really kick-ass heels or boots. A Bombshell can create her own 80's leggings look with these pieces:

Torrid's slashed-back chain top fulfills our 80's requirements: super wide neckline, tough-girl details (the back is almost completely wide open, held together with a series of metal chains) and is even cut to fit and flatter curves.

The dramatic shoulders/sleeves on this blue tunic from Evans also cut a pretty cool 80's silhouette. Sling a studded belt around your waist, slip a pair of booties on your feet and go.

The hipster leggings look is all about layering - long layers under shorter layers paired with slouchy accessories. Rachel Bilson & Ashley Olsen are two celebrities who define this particular look. Make it your own with pieces like these:

A drapey tunic shot through with gold will add visual interest when layered underneath more muted pieces. This black waiters' style jacket adds the kind of structure a curvy girl needs to avoid looking shapeless. Add a long, drapey scarf, maybe a beret , then anchor the outfit in a great pair of boots.


Photo credit: mylookbook.com.au; Evans; Torrid.com; Nordstrom.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

Beauty Moment- mySkin

There are few things in life (my life, at least) more mind-boggling than figuring out skin care. No matter what stage of life you're in, no matter what you're looking for, there are waaaay too many options available. I tend to be a very loyal skincare consumer because I think it's slightly less confusing to just buy everything in one line. The end result? Inconsistent results and the nagging feeling that I'm being a sucker. If you're with me on this, check out a new web site called mySkin.

The premise of mySkin is that it'll take down a whole bunch of information - about your skin type, concerns, current regimen and every product you've ever used - and will create a list of skin care products that will work for you. mySkin doesn't seem to be dedicated to any specific brand, either, which is refreshing. The list of products recommended for me ranged from low to high end brands. They don't sell anything or take on any advertisers which makes me feel like I can actually trust the advice they've given me.

mySkin is accessible by invitation only so if you'd like to see which products they recommend for you click here. Click the Log In button and use this access code: bombshellbeauty. You'll be able to access all the fun features, including a blog channel and chat forum where you can trade tips on skin care.

Best Gifts Under $50: Lane Bryant

I love the clothes and accessories that Lane Bryant has pulled together this holiday season. Cozy sweaters, stylish tops, cute pj's and ultra sparkly jewelry - it's good stuff. LB's price point on these pieces is pretty nice, too - many of the items are $50 or less.

To see if I could find a few gifts for Bombshells on my list (or for me...ok, definitely for me!), Lane Bryant sent me a $50 gift card and a few ideas for how to spend it. Here are three pieces I contemplated and the item I ended up buying:



I'm a sucker for a striped tee, and I especially like the irregular, painterly effect of this tee. . Available in blue, pink and navy blue, this is casual cool at its best. $29.50



I've been eye-balling eternity scarves since they started popping up in Lucky Magazine a few months ago. As someone who's all thumbs when it comes to tying a scarf just so, I love the easy chic of these versatile knits. Lane Bryant's version is available in red and purple for $29.50.



LB's jewelry selection is definitely lust-worthy these days. This grey faux pearl ribbon necklace would look amazing paired with a cocktail dress or a simple tee shirt and jeans. Very versatile. And I love the fact that Lane Bryant's jewelry compliments the proportions of a plus size figure - nothing is too delicate or dainty. $39.50.

So those are the items I considered...here's what i walked out with:



This embroidered babydoll negligee is kind of a two-fer: a gift for me AND for my husband. Flirty and sexy, it's just $44.50.

Photo credit: LaneBryant.com

Friday, December 4, 2009

Not So Basic Black

There's nothing wrong with relying on black pieces to mix and match into your everyday wardobe. There is something wrong with grabbing the same old boring black tee shirt or sweater and racing out the door every day. Sure, it's easy. But it's also blah.

Raise the style quotient of your go-to pieces by choosing items with special details: a ruffle, an interesting neckline, or cut-outs. It'll look like you made more of an effort than you really did. (And who doesn't want that?)



Anna Scholz crepe jersey frill sleeve top. Very feminine and pretty. Goes with everything.



The wide lapel and built-in belt add a crisp, chic feel to an otherwise standard black button-down.





This cowl neck sweater is a great option if you like a little extra coverage across the chest.



Earn some very deserved attention in this chiffon buckle top from Apple Bottoms. Perfect for a night out dancing, or swapped in place of a safe little black dress (uhm, add pants of course). if you're feeling a little bare, top with a blazer or denim jacket.

Photo credit: AnnaScholz.com; OldNavy.com; Kiyonna.com; AppleBottoms.com

Smokey Eye Trick

I learned a great trick from The Makeup Diaries for how to keep smokey eye makeup from looking too heavy. After you get all the dark colors on your lids and blended to perfection, take a light peach eye shadow or blush and sweep it very lightly along the crease (that spot on your lid where you can feel the top of your eyeball). It'll be so incredibly subtle that you might not think it's making a difference. But trust me - especially in photographs, the effect is great. Your eyes will look a little brighter and lifted.

Another way to make use of peach to appear more awake is with a nude or beige eye pencil. Once you've got all your makeup on, swipe a bit of nude pencil along your lower lash line and in the corners of your eyes (near the tear duct). Again, the look is very subtle but effective.

Two products I like for these tricks are Sephora brand Nano Eyeliner in Pure Beige (09), and Benefit Georgia blush.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sweater Lust

I love this cowl-neck sweater from Old Navy! The bib bodice paired with that cowl is very fun. And I think it would be really versatile, too. I can picture it with a pair of dark wash jeans and red heels; a knee-length skirt, boots and layers of bracelets; or under a suit. Totally want this.

Photo credit: OldNavy.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Smoothest. Lips. Ever.

If you've got a case of crusty lips, let me give you a tip. Slathering more and more lip balm over your poor dry mouth is not going to suddenly make them feel all better. Nope, you've got to exfoliate them THEN slather in balm. Exfoliation can be as simple as rubbing a toothbrush over your lips. Or you can buy a scrub created specifically for your kisser. I like Treat Kiss & Make It Butter lip scrub. It's an all natural sugar scrub enhanced with shea butter, and lemon oil that works like a charm. I found it at St. Paul's fabulous spatique, Storm Sister, which has a great online store. I found a bunch of great stuff at this neighborhood favorite, but more on that later. Back to crusty lips...

My balm of choice is Verikira Naturals Lip Soother & Plumper. It includes DMAE and other antioxidants to help protect the delicate lip area from the signs of aging. Even more important? It feels incredibly smooth going on, and has a soothing almond oil scent. I'm a sucker for almond oil. Twin Cities Bombshells can pick up a tube at Spalon Montage; everyone else order online.

Photo credit:Stormsister.biz

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Build an Outfit - Pink & Grey

Whenever I'm in a wardrobe slump - everything in my closet feels uninspired - my go to resource for a kick start is Lloyd Boston's book, Before You Put That On. The book contains 365 daily style tips that help identify gaps in your wardrobe and how to put a new spin on the things you already own. Lloyd's tips trend toward a classic style and are geared toward a more mature woman than myself. But I take his suggestions as just that - suggestions. Thought starters. Ideas.

My favorite segments in the book are those in which Lloyd builds an outfit, piece by piece, and encourages the reader to find similar pieces in her own closet. For example, he might suggest:

Grey pants + baby pink cashmere sweater + black ankle boots = (a cheesy name for the outfit). Add extra style with gold hoop earrings and a classic denim jacket.

I never have the exact components for the outfit he describes. But that's the fun of it! Here's what my interpretation might look like;



Grey bootcut trousers.



Pink halter-style sweater.



I don't have a denim jacket, but a boyfriend blazer could sub in.



Rhinestone hoop earrings.

What would your version of this outfit look like?

Photo credit: Avenue.com; JessicaLondon.com; LaneBryant.com; FredFlare.com